‘Sidmouth has plenty of good neighbours,’ says town’s Help Link

The health watch has already seen success in several communities including Budleigh Salterton, Lymps

The health watch has already seen success in several communities including Budleigh Salterton, Lympstone and Newton St Cyres. - Credit: Archant

A recent decision which saw Sidmouth miss out on the chance to trial a pioneering support scheme was down to a lack of necessity for the project - not a lack of interest.

That is the message from Sidmouth Help Link co-ordinator Jennifer Goodhall, who says that the town is fortunate to already have a network of charities and voluntary groups in place.

The Herald reported earlier this month how organisers of the Neighbourhood Health Watch (NHW) had been unable to secure enough support to move ahead with their scheme, despite promising initial interest.

The project would have centred around a base of ‘good neighbours’, who would help with tasks such as taking someone to a hospital appointment, or looking after the pet of a neighbour who is ill.

However, organisers said that a lack of interest from volunteers needed to run the scheme meant they were unable to get it off the ground.

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But Jennifer suggested that the reason the scheme did not take off in Sidmouth was because the NHW was offering something that is already being provided.

She said: “Lack of interest is not the issue.

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“Sidmouth has many ‘good neighbours’ carrying out everyday tasks and supporting neighbours and vulnerable older people as they always have done.

“When people are not fortunate enough to have good neighbours or friends, then the Sidmouth community comes into its own in the form of its many and varied existing voluntary organisations.

“Sidmouth is more fortunate than most Devon towns in this provision.”

She added that voluntary organisations in the area already provide older people in Sidmouth with a wide range of activities, lunch clubs, transport schemes and outings, as well as help for those with medical conditions.

The Help Link recently launched its ‘Ask Us’ signposting service, which is staffed by advisers who are able to refer people to groups in the area that may be able to assist.

The service can be contacted on 01395 514445 and is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10am to noon, and Thursdays from 2pm to 4pm.

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